PRESSURE IN MILWAUKEE: Bucks superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo spoke to a Harvard University professor for a case study about the difficulties small-market NBA teams face when it comes to keeping their best players. Antetokounmpo, who’s usually pretty measured in his comments to the media regarding his future, told the professor that as long as the Bucks maintain a winning culture, there’s nowhere else he’d rather be. But if things take a turn for the worse over the next year, then his decision on whether or not to remain in Milwaukee becomes a lot more difficult.
Simply put: Not what you want to hear if you’re a Bucks fan. Though they appear set up for success for years to come, things can change quickly in the NBA, and if they do, losing their perennial MVP candidate becomes a real possibility.
EVENTFUL NIGHT: Kyrie Irving choked up during a pre-game speech in Brooklyn, then proceeded to explode for 50 points before missing a would-be game-winning shot vs. Minnesota. His 50-point effort is now the record for best scoring in a player debut for any NBA team, by the way.
ROCO OPENS UP: Robert Covington went through some dark times last season as he recovered from a knee injury that forced him to miss most of the season. But although Covington got pretty low, and him getting traded from Philadelphia did not help, he realized he could ask for help and used therapy to reset, and not just get back to his old self, but find a new, improved version of himself.
BLING BLING: For those who have ever wanted to see what every NBA championship ring, even those dating back to the mid-1950s, looks like: You’re in luck! Take a fascinating deep dive and check out how the title-winning jewelry has changed over the years.
SLOVENIAN PASSION: The Athletic’s Tim Cato took a trip to Slovenia to learn more about budding superstar Luka Doncic’s roots, and to find out more about Slovenian basketball history in general. A truly fantastic read for those who want to learn about another culture that loves hoops just about as much as we do.
ALL-STAR LOCATION NAMED: On Wednesday, the NBA held a press conference to announce that the 2023 All-Star Game will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah to be hosted by the Jazz. It’ll be the 30-year anniversary of the only other All-Star Game Utah has hosted.
BBB RE-BIRTH? LaVar Ball is restructuring Big Baller Brand, and launching a new website for the company.
EXECS TALK EXTENSIONS: Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus spoke to various league execs about the latest wave of rookie-scale extensions and, boy, did they not hold back. Spoiler alert: They were not fans of the Jaylen Brown or Buddy Hield extensions.
TRADE RUMOR RANKINGS
These are the players with the most mentions in our trade rumors page the last seven days:
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